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The medieval population of Leopoli-Cencelle (Viterbo, Latium): dietary reconstruction through stable isotope analysis from bone proteins

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Author(s)

  • Marica Baldoni
  • Gabriele Scorrano
  • Michelle Marie Alexander
  • Francesca Stasolla
  • Luigi Tonino Marsella
  • Olga Rickards
  • Cristina Martínez-Labarga

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalJournal of Archaeological Science Reports
DateAccepted/In press - 28 Dec 2018
DatePublished (current) - Apr 2019
Volume24
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)92-101
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The Medieval period in Europe was a time of unprecedented social complexity and significant social and political change that had an impact on human diets. The present study aims to use stable isotope analysis from bone proteins to explore the diets of humans (n = 76) and fauna (n = 5) from the Medieval town of Leopoli-Cencelle (VT, Italy). The town was occupied between the 9th–15th centuries CE, however, the analysed remains date to the Late Medieval period (12th–15th centuries CE). Historical sources provide some information about the inhabitants of this community: the majority of the population was represented by craftsmen and traders, but farmers and shepherds were also present. To date, no biomolecular data regarding this community have been published.

The results indicated an increase of 3–5‰ in δ15N values of humans compared to animals, reflecting a high trophic-level. The δ13C results indicated that animal and human diet was mainly based on C3 terrestrial resources, although three humans possessed an isotopic signature indicative of C4 plant consumption. No statistically significant differences between sexes or age groups (adults vs juveniles) were detected. The isotopic results were further placed in their regional and chronological context, adding valuable data to our understanding of diet and food distribution during the Medieval period in Italy.

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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

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